On Getting Back to School

Rebecca Toal by Rebecca Toal Additional Needs

Rebecca Toal

Rebecca Toal

Blessed, busy mum to four beautiful girls, the youngest with complex special needs due to extreme prematurity. We are always looking for ways to ma...

I don’t know about you- but I am SO looking forward to my girls all getting back to school.

This summer, and in fact the whole of 2020 so far has been like no other I’ve experienced.

I’d never have imagined my four girls would have five and a half months STRAIGHT out of school…

I’d never have imagined most of the world locking and shutting down due to a global viral pandemic.

Usually our summer, two months out of school for my kids, is filled with a flurry of activities and trips.  Summer scheme at school, camps, sports activities, meet ups with friends and family. It’s very busy, and full-on especially with my youngest daughter who is 9 now but pretty much requires hands-on assistance and supervision round the clock.

Brielle has missed out on school camps and the week intensive at SENSE (a deaf blind charity) this summer. Also all of the day activities and meet ups with local vision and deaf charities have been suspended indefinitely. Unless you want to do Zoom- which holds no interest for Brielle due to her sensory impairments. She’s a very tactile girl so the move to digital meet-ups and activities is just not feasible for her.

Initially I thought I’d be somewhat apprehensive and worried about measures to keep Brielle safe at school. Strangely though, I find myself a bit laissez faire now, happy enough with any distancing measures, PPE and extra hygiene measures her school put in place to keep everyone safe.

I would not for an instant consider keeping Brielle back from school at this point.

It is CRUCIAL to her communication, her educational and social development that she be in school.

I may feel a bit differently if she’d been on the shielding list or if children generally had been shown to be worse affected  by COVID-19.  Although she does have asthma and chronic lung disease from being born very prematurity, her paediatrician does not feel she is in the most vulnerable category.

Life does have to go on, and adaptions made as necessary. I cannot keep Brielle in a bubble.

My husband and I are actually a bit fearful of what the autumn and winter will bring this year, as the weather gets colder and cold and flu season kicks in. We are dreading the possibility of another full on lockdown and the closure of schools, and praying it never again needs to happen….

Kids need school. Especially you could argue, vulnerable children with special and additional needs.


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